Filed under: ACA, Affordable Care Act, Deadlines, Health Care Reform, Health Reform, Melissa Miller, PHR, Ted Kirchharr, The Busy Business Owner's Updated Guide to Health Care Reform: What You Need To Know | Tags: ACA, employer, Health Care Reform, Health Reform, Human Resources, Insurance Reform, Landrum Human Resources, Landrum Staffing, PEO, PPACA
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“The Busy Business Owner’s Updated Guide to Health Care Reform: What You Need to Know”
by Ted A. Kirchharr
We have added a page to our blog that is designed to keep you updated and informed on current policies and/or changes in the Health Care Reform Law. Updates will be posted on that page as we become aware of new developments. Please visit often to stay current or sign up to receive email alerts.
To read about the latest updates to the Health Care Reform Law go to: http://landrumhrblog.com/about/health-care-reform-law-updates/
Filed under: Human Resources | Tags: Christmas, Holiday Workplace Parties, HR, Human Resources, Office Parties
I know, I know, you haven’t even had your turkey and dressing yet, but tis the season to plan your company party. Taking time to set proper expectations could be the difference between a Winter Wonderland and the Nightmare Before Christmas.
A recent survey shows that 58% of companies will be having some form of off-site year-end celebration this season. Great news for the fun loving employee – frightful trepidation for the HR department. Good News – it doesn’t have to be.
Holiday parties can bring out questionable behavior in even the most mild-mannered employee. Something about being outside of the actual office setting can cause employees to lose their inhibitions and put that darn lampshade on their head. While a successful office party should be a time for putting a jingle in your mingle, it is still important for all employees to remain professional and respectful.
Here are some tips for the office party planner:
Consider sending an email prior to the event reminding all employees to celebrate and enjoy the night in a festive, yet professional manner.
Make it clear that the event is purely voluntary so there is no confusion regarding pay.
Communicate proper dress code ahead of time so that all employees are aware of the proper attire.
Discuss with supervisors how to properly handle any policy violations that are observed during the event.
Make sure that all members of senior management know to set a proper example (“Umm excuse me, Mrs. CFO, could you remove that lampshade from your head?” That could be awkward).
Take steps to ensure that overindulgence is kept to a minimum, if alcohol is served (not recommended) establish a set number of drink “tickets” ahead of time; better yet, have a cash bar with some or all proceeds going to a local charity. We don’t tend to drink as much if we are buying. Have you ever noticed that?
Have a plan in case there is a need to provide a taxi ride/transportation.
These parties could potentially become a source of liability for employers; however, there are ways to ensure that everyone has a great time which is, after all, the whole point! May your tinsel never tangle, your lights always shine, and your holidays be merry.
Filed under: Uncategorized
written by Michele Hynes, PHR - HR Manager at Landrum Human Resources
PINK! PINK! It’s everywhere this month… on the football field, in your favorite stores, even lighting up the night sky. As a business owner, HR professional or human being, we all want to support and encourage cancer patients and survivors. But are we protecting them in the workplace? Are we discriminating against them without even realizing?
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) prohibits discrimination against people with disabilities in employment, transportation, public accommodation, communications, and governmental activities. As a result of changes made by the ADA Amendments Act (ADAAA) people who currently have a cancer diagnosis, are in remission, or have a history of cancer fit the definition of “disability”. With the revision of the disability definition employers are prohibited from making employment decisions based on an applicant’s or employee’s cancer history or current diagnosis.
A recent story out of Pennsylvania indicates a doctor terminated a 12-year employee due to her cancer diagnosis. He sent a registered, handwritten letter to the employee’s home stating her illness would be “significant and distracting” and that she would not be able to “function” in my office at the level required while battling for your life. Because of this, I am laying you off without pay as of August 11, 2014.”
Whether or not this diagnosis will take a physical toll on this employee’s health, she is still protected under the ADA, which means she is protected from job discrimination as long as she is able to perform the essential functions of her job. When questioned, the doctor stated he was only looking out for his long-term employee and meant her no harm. In the court of public opinion, however, his actions appeared suspicious and the motive behind his action was questioned. Don’t get caught unaware and let this happen to you! The EEOC has created an extensive list of Questions and Answers on this very topic. Please visit http://www.eeoc.gov/laws/types/cancer.cfm for more information.
As we proudly wear our PINK this month in show of support for all survivors and those we have lost, let’s also remember to check our practices to make sure we are not negatively impacting those that are already fighting the fight of their life.
Filed under: Human Resources | Tags: employee, employer, Leadership, Peer to Boss, Supervisor, team
written by Tracy Herman, SPHR - HR Manager at Landrum Human Resources
The day you have been dreaming of is here. You have just become a boss. Now what do you do?
According to Careerbuilder.com, more than 60% of new leaders don’t receive any supervisory training at all and are expected to hit the road running the first day on their new job. This leaves them to learn their new responsibilities through trial and error. Even worse, 42% of new supervisors have no idea what is expected of them! Organizations that do provide training often deliver it too late, or the training lacks focus on skills that help new leaders become effective in communication, collaboration, and coaching skills.
Acquiring these skills can be tricky and is an ongoing process. For first time managers and leaders, knowing how to do it “right” is a key stepping stone on the road to success. The good news is that the needed skills to make the transition from team player to team leader can be learned!
Earlier in my career when I first assumed the role of supervisor, I was fortunate enough to have a strong mentor guide me through the challenges of becoming a boss that people would respect. She also helped me gain the ability to provide appropriate direction to help team members become successful.
The first step I took was to have upfront conversations with each department member. More importantly, I listened! Part of the discussion was about loss and gain from the new relationship. The loss was the peer relationship of sharing the same work level issues no longer applied. If perceived as a friend and not a supervisor, your team may doubt your ability to be effective. They may feel you can’t (or won’t) address performance issues with staff members or make difficult decisions that are best for the department. The gain could be that some of the good ideas floating around the department may get implemented because of a new decision maker’s perspective (be a champion of change!).
We talked about team member goals and where they saw themselves in their careers, both short and long term. We also discussed department and organization needs and how each individual would play a role in meeting those goals.
One department member had also worked hard for the position I was promoted to and we discussed her struggle with not being selected. She felt she had been “passed over” and not sure she would be long term with the company anymore. I periodically conducted meetings with the employee to gauge morale, and although she eventually moved to another department our working relationship remained good.
I then began to establish goals for the department and more importantly, held everyone accountable to them through quarterly reviews. A team leader needs to lead with firm direction and not falter like a rudderless ship. I made slight changes over time and began delegating responsibilities to empower department members, giving them ownership of the department’s successes (and errors).
Forbes magazine offers these additional tips for new supervisors:
- Don’t cheapen your role by telling everyone “nothing will change”
- Make boundaries
- Get “out of the loop”
- Stop doing your old job
- Ask. Be quiet. Listen.
In conclusion, it isn’t about being popular; it’s about leading others to achieve results.
Filed under: Human Resources, Joni Humphreys, Landrum | Tags: "4th of July", "Independence Day", employees, employer, fireworks safety, founding fathers, July 4th, Landrum Human Resources, Landrum Staffing, PEO, Working a Better Way
It’s July 2nd –Have You talked To Your Employees about Fireworks Safety?
posted by Joni K. Humphreys on Wednesday, July 2, 2014
This weekend will be filled with red, white, and blue and it’s a good bet that your employees have made plans to celebrate! And why not? Independence Day – the Fourth of July – the day to celebrate and honor our country!
I am reminded of a previous blog post by our President and CEO, H. Britt Landrum, Jr. a few years ago; “Independence Day: Reflection and Celebration” . His writing reminds us of how brave and wise the founding fathers of our country were and how we should never forget the wisdom displayed.
During this weekend of fun we also need to be reminded to be safe! So, as we plan our barbeque, pack our beach bag, or gather around the swimming pool let’s remember the safety rules and precautions we need to take. This is especially true if you or your employees plan to light a sparkler or firecracker in the backyard! Of course, to have a truly safe and fun 4th of July, go to a professional fireworks show!
We hope everyone has a very happy and safe Independence Day Holiday! Here are a few websites that offer great safety advice for your July 4th outdoor events:
USA.gov offers history and fun facts about Independence Day as well as Fireworks Safety Tips, Pool Safety, Boating Safety, and Barbeque Safety!
Filed under: Eileen Hess,PHR, Human Resources | Tags: Department of Labor, DOL, employees, Fat Law’s Farm, FLSA, Human Resources, Inc., labor violations, Landrum Human Resources, Landrum Staffing, Migrant and Seasonal Agricultural Worker Protection Act, PEO, U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, US Department of Labor, Wage and Hour Investigation
Pay Now or Pay Later: Hawaii’s Fat Law’s Farm and the US Department of Labor
The U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division is geared up for another busy year of investigating wage and hour violations. One recent win for the Department and employees of Fat Law’s Farm, Inc. resulted in an order to pay a total of $460,000 for labor violations. $428,800 went to back wages and liquidated damages. $31,200 in civil money penalties was assessed because of the deplorable housing, safety and health conditions in direct violation of the Migrant and Seasonal Agricultural Worker Protection Act.
Fat Law’s Farm produces and supplies herbs and vegetables in Hawaii for export to U.S. mainland and Canada. The company employed roughly 40 Filipino and southeastern Asian agricultural employees. In addition to wages, workers were provided housing on the farm and supplied a kitchen, lodging and laundry area.
In 2013 the U.S. District Court in Hawaii issued a search warrant that permitted the Wage and Hour investigators to gain access to Fat Law’s Farm and obtain a clear picture of the pay practices and working conditions maintained by the employer.
The investigation revealed that between 2011 and 2013 Fat Law’s Farm failed to pay agricultural workers minimum wage for all hours worked, did not pay overtime wages, failed recording-keeping provisions as required by FLSA, and provided substandard living conditions. DOL was able to determine the company’s Filipino workers were predominantly paid at $7.25 per hour with overtime compensation, but other workers, mainly from Laos, were paid $5 per hour in cash, without overtime, and worked 70 hours per week on average.
In addition to the wage and hour violations, the disparity in pay could lead to an additional investigation by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and may warrant investigations by other agencies to determine if tax, insurance and employee mandate provisions were violated.
For additional information:
Eileen carries out the role of Human Resources Manager for Landrum Professional Employer Services in Pensacola Florida, serving clients in multiple states. In this role, she advises clients on current and trending state and federal laws influencing human resources. Eileen also provides assistance in dispute resolution and utilization of best human resources standards. She serves as a knowledgeable and trusted advisor to clients “helping them to work a better way”. Eileen has over 20 years of human resources experience in the corporate, healthcare, and manufacturing environments, and certified as a Professional in Human Resources (PHR) through the Human Resource Certification Institute and the Society for Human Resource Management.
Filed under: Human Resources, Jim Guttmann, SPHR | Tags: Civil Rights Act, Equal Pay Act, Equal Pay Act of 1963, Equal Pay for Women, Fair Labor Standards Act, Human Resources, Landrum Human Resources, Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, Paycheck Fairness Act, PEO, President Obama
Equal Pay for Women in the Limelight
The week of April 7th was an eventful one in Washington D.C. as President Obama signed an Executive Order prohibiting federal contractors from retaliating against employees who choose to discuss their compensation. This Executive Order provides a critical tool to encourage pay transparency, so workers have a potential way of discovering violations of equal pay laws and are able to seek appropriate remedies. In addition, by Presidential Memorandum, he asked the Secretary of Labor to require federal contractors to submit data on employee compensation by race and gender. The Department of Labor will use the data to encourage compliance with equal pay laws and to focus efforts where there are suspected discrepancies. After signing these initiatives, President Obama encouraged Congress to pass a Paycheck Fairness Act for the private sector.
Before considering the relative merits of the Paycheck Fairness Act, let’s review past legislation that is already the law of the land.
Fair Labor Standards Act (1938) - The FLSA established minimum wage, overtime pay, recordkeeping, and youth employment standards affecting employees in the private sector and in Federal, State, and local governments.
Equal Pay Act (1963) – Amended the Fair Labor Standards Act and aimed at abolishing wage disparity based on sex.
Civil Rights Act (1964) - Outlawed discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin.
Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act (2009) – Amended the Civil Rights Act of 1964 by stating that the 180-day statute of limitations for filing an equal-pay lawsuit regarding pay discrimination resets with each new paycheck affected by that discriminatory action.
On April 9, 2014, the Senate did indeed consider The Paycheck Fairness Act which would have expanded the Equal Pay Act of 1963 to make it easier for employees to pursue legal claims for unequal pay based solely on the sex of the employee. It would have also allowed employees to share salary information without fear of retaliation, and increase the amount of damages that could be awarded in these types of discrimination lawsuits. Fifty four (54) Senators voted in favor of this legislation but it did not receive enough votes to overcome a partisan filibuster in the Senate.
Those who were in favor of the legislation maintain that women still make just 77 cents on average for every dollar a man earns, and continue to face prejudice in the workplace. According to their research, this gap has held constant since 2002 despite the fact that women make up roughly half of America’s workforce and graduate at a higher rate than men from college and graduate schools. They believe it is time to add some Government enforcement into the Equal Pay Act to reduce or eliminate the gap in pay between women and men.
As a Landrum Professional Human Resources Manager, Jim is certified as a Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR) and has over 20 years of HR generalist experience for a large government contractor and Fortune 500 Company. He holds a Masters in Business Administration from Florida State University and is an active member of the Greater Pensacola Chapter of the Society for Human Resources Management (GPCSHRM), previously serving as their Vice President of Information Services and Chairman of the Workplace Diversity Committee. Jim is also certified as a County Mediator and in the administration of the Myers Briggs Type Indicator(MBTI).
Filed under: Ed Grayson SPHR, Human Resources | Tags: Department of Labor, DOL, employees, employer, Exempt, Fair Labor Standards Act, FLSA, FLSA regulations, Human Resources, Landrum Human Resources, Non-Exempt, PEO, President Obama
Exempt or Non-Exempt, That is the Question
by Edward Grayson, SPHR on April 8, 2014
Working conditions were different in 1938 when President Franklin D. Roosevelt led efforts to pass the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The act established a maximum number of work hours per week, a minimum wage, overtime for certain jobs and restrictions on child labor. The Department of Labor’s website states, “In its final form, the act applied to industries whose combined employment represented only about one-fifth of the labor force.” The American workplace in 1938 was very different from today. Through years of revisions, current FLSA regulations impact most employers and workers in America. On March 13th, President Obama directed the Department of Labor (DOL) to do its first overhaul of FLSA regulations in 10 years. At the heart of the review will be the President’s instruction to update who qualifies for overtime pay.
To be “exempt” from overtime pay, the FLSA requires an employee to pass a “duties”, “salary level” and “salary basis” test. The duties test requires employers to evaluate the tasks of a specific job and how those tasks align with the employer’s operations. Most likely, a job would pass the duties test if it required managing other employees, exercising independent judgment and discretion, and included non-manual work.
The salary level and basis test concerns the amount and how an employee is paid. To pass the salary level and basis test, the FLSA requires employees to be paid at least $455 per week and, generally speaking, have some or all of their base pay guaranteed regardless of the quality or quantity of work. President Obama’s directive is expected to focus on the salary level test and the qualifications for exemption under the FLSA duties test. However, raising the threshold for the salary level test is expected to be a primary goal of the DOL review. The salary threshold has been raised seven times since 1938 with the most recent change occurring in 2004. The test was originally intended to apply to highly compensated, white-collar employees, but now covers employees earning as little as $23,660 per year.
Preliminary information from DOL and various media articles indicate the threshold for the salary level test could be adjusted for past inflation and raised from a range of $28,756 to $51,168. No one is sure what DOL will propose, but it is expected to be in the upper end of the range. That would be a significant increase from the current level and would certainly have an impact on businesses across the country. In addition, the duties test most likely will require a certain amount of time devoted to “exempt” work and that will require a careful review of a job’s duties and responsibilities. Other changes may include narrowing the exemptions for employees in computer related occupations and outside sales.
At this time, it is not clear whether the FLSA changes will undergo the standard rule making process. If DOL proposes the regulations, it would invite input from business groups and labor organizations, and it is anticipated there would be lobbying on both sides of the proposal before a final rule is published. Consequently, the final result of the President’s directive is projected to be at least 12 to 18 months away.
So, is there anything business owners should be doing? As the old saying goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Business owners can be proactive by ensuring the jobs in their organizations are classified correctly under current FLSA overtime provisions. It is important to remember that DOL is more concerned about the duties and responsibilities of a job, rather than the job title. A lofty job title does not guarantee exemption. The first step in determining whether a job is exempt or non-exempt from overtime pay should begin with a job description that accurately reflects the duties, responsibilities and accountability of the position. The job description will provide the guideline to determine whether the job is accurately classified. That should be a top priority. A second priority should be ensuring overtime pay is accurately tracked and paid to employees eligible to receive it.
Ensuring compliance with FLSA standards is a wise business practice under any circumstances and may help business owners avoid the cost of incorrectly classifying a job as exempt (For more information, see “Don’t Become a DOL Statistic.” Remember, if a business undergoes a wage and hour audit it will be the business owner’s obligation to explain why jobs are exempt from overtime pay provisions.
As the newest member of the Landrum team, Ed Grayson began his role as a Human Resources Manager for Landrum Professional Employer Services at full speed. With more than 27 years of HR experience with a Fortune 500 company, Ed ensures that Landrum clients are in compliance with all local, state and federal laws that impact human resources. He provides advice to business owners and employees regarding the potential resolution of work-related issues and trains and consults with employers on the implementation of Human Resources best practices.
Ed is certified as a Senior Professional in Human Resources, Certified Compensation Professional and Certified Benefits Professional. He serves on the Board of Directors and the Executive Committee for the Waterfront Rescue Mission, Pensacola, Fla.
Connect with Ed in the comment section of this blog post. Your feedback is welcome.